School Enrollment Up Across the State | VideoKristin Clouston | 7/31/2012
State Superintendent Dr. Wayne Sanstead says most of the money for education has been going to the west.
"Of the rapid growth funding provided by the legislature to the districts we used approximately half those resources now, with the greater majority going to the oil producing counties."
And it`s not just Williston
"Not counting Williston, the 54 western oil producing school districts are expecting approximately 1,400 new students and all 29 gas and oil producing counties will gain students. Now some of that is reaching over into other communities, Bismarck would be included in there, where folks are finding housing as close as they can to the work site," Sanstead said.
In fact, Bismarck is expecting 1,200 new students over the next five years. Sanstead says the big companies coming into the state need to help support growing infrastructure, but the real work is going to have to happen in the legislature. He`s retiring at the end of the year, and both candidates running for his position agree.
"We`re going to need to work together to build plans and help these school districts deal not only with the infrastructure needs, with the addition of little bodies that are going to be in our classrooms, but the different types of students that will be coming into our school districts," said candidate Kirsten Baesler.
"The state has to help. When that goes back on local property taxes it`s really not acceptable. The state is doing very well. We`ve got billions from oil revenue, we need to put it back into the education of our students," said candidate Tracy Potter.
For now, some schools will have 27 or 28 students in a classroom, some will be adding portables and others are just going to have to wait and see what happens.
Sanstead says sometimes numbers are accidentally inflated because students are registered in more than one district and we should have the actual numbers in mid October.